Vuelta (II)

This week’s post is a continuation of our exploration of the uses of vuelta, one of the most ubiquitous words in the Spanish language. Today I’ll offer a few idiomatic uses of this word which you may encounter in conversation.

1) a la vuelta: This phrase has two meanings which depend upon context. It can mean “upon return” or “around the corner”:

  • A la vuelta de sus vacaciones, la pareja descrubrió que alguien le habiá robado su tarjeta de crédito = “Upon returning from their vacation, the couple discovered that someone had stolen their credit card.”
  • La tienda que buscas está a la vuelta (de la esquina) = “The store you’re looking for is around the corner.”

Note that the complete phrase for “around the corner” is a la vuelta de la esquina, but it’s often abbreviated to a la vuelta.

2) sacar la vuelta: In Mexican Spanish, this means “to avoid someone or something”:

  • José les anda sacando la vuelta a sus amigos porque se siente avergonzado por haberlos traicionado = “José is avoiding his friends because he feels ashamed for having betrayed them.”
  • Ya no le saques la vuelta más a tu problema… hay que enfrentarlo. = “Stop avoiding your problem. You’ve got to face it.”

I recently discovered that sacar la vuelta means different things in different countries. Thus, while in Mexico it means “to avoid someone or something”, in Chile it means “to waste time” and in Peru it means “to cheat on someone.”

3) hacer unas vueltas: I’ve taken this example directly from the speech of my Colombian friends. They used it to mean hacer unos mandados or “to run errands”. I have not ascertained whether this expression would be understood elsewhere.

4) vuelta = solución: It turns out that the word vuelta is often used to describe “a solution to a problem” in Argentinian Spanish:

  • Hay que encontrar la vuelta a este problema antes de que sea demasiado tarde = “It’s necessary to find the solution to this problem before it’s too late”.

As you can see, the word vuelta is especially versatile and is used frequently, albeit sometimes differently, in practically all Spanish dialects. It’s worth incorporating at least its basic meanings into your vocabulary, and for that I refer you to last week’s post. I’ll be back (Estaré de vuelta) next week with a new topic… No le des demasiadas vueltas a todos estos significados… ¡ya entenderás!

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